As if adopting Agile wasn’t scary enough, Keith Richards from KRC talked about the 8 dangers of Agile at the APM conference last month. And here they are:
It arrives bottom up
“We don’t really want the techies taking over the organisation,” said Keith. “This bottom up stuff is a bit dangerous.” He made the point that Agile isn’t something that should grow organically from the IT department. Make sure your Agile deployment is a conscious decision.
It looks simple
“It if was simple we wouldn’t need to be trained up in PRINCE2,” he said. My view is that everything is simple when you know how it works, but Agile looks deceptively simple from the outside. Be cautious with your implementation, Keith recommended.
It’s mixing oil with water
Agile has a particular approach to governance that doesn’t sit well with some heavy corporate governance structures. Agile (in my opinion) isn’t anti-management, but it is nimble. Some companies aren’t nimble, so give some thought to how the two approaches will sit comfortably together.
You start with timeboxing
Timeboxing is the Agile approach to getting things done by a fixed date. Chunks of work are packaged up and delivered at the end of a timebox, and this means that projects deliver on time. I honestly thought timeboxing would be a good place to start, but Keith flagged this as a potential danger. Put Agile into a wider context, he suggested. This means not starting with timeboxing, but starting instead with an education campaign and really understanding what you are setting out to do.
A full PMI-ACP exam prep course. Self-paced with video training modules, you'll quickly be on your way to your agile certification. We love this course from respected trainer Cornelius Fichtner and it's a cost-effective way to prepare for your exam.
Receive 10% off all Agile PrepCast packages including the Elite (version with PMI-ACP Exam Simulator included) with code May21 in May 2021.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you #ad
“Who’s going to pull this together?” Keith asked. You can’t rely on teams to be self-managing when there are numerous people or multiple strands involved in a project. People need a single point of contact.
It grows virally
Don’t let Agile spread virally, Keith warned. While this might work for some things (like adopting a corporate wiki), it won’t work with Agile. You will end up with variants that don’t work and no consistent understanding of what Agile is all about.
The people upstairs don’t get it
This is a very real danger, but I would argue that it’s a problem for all project management approaches, not just agile ways of doing things. If you don’t have senior stakeholder buy in and understanding, making any type of process or methodology change is going to be very difficult. You can counter this danger by increasing your education campaign to cover those stakeholders, as well as the people who’ll be doing the doing.
The tools drive the transition
Keith flagged this as a danger for Agile implementations, but again I feel this is a danger for any change in methodology. Don’t let tools drive the transition to a new way of working. The tools should support your new processes, not the other way round. In the case of Agile, don’t buy some kind of software to support development and then hope it will ‘fix’ everything. Software doesn’t roll out new processes – you do.
What other dangers have you come across from deploying Agile on your projects? Or from deploying any new project approach, for that matter?
Elizabeth Harrin is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management in the UK and the award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She helps managers juggle their projects and ditch the overwhelm, making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including Engaging Stakeholders on Projects: How to harness people power.
Last week I wrote about what the PMI Educational Foundation does. One of the missions of PMIEF is to build project management skills in young people and teachers, better equipping students for the future. How exactly does it do that? At PMI’s EMEA Leadership Institute Meeting in Dublin in 2011, two volunteers spoke about their…
This is the video from the Tuesday at the Pink Elephant ITSM Conference in Las Vegas. The video is about 6 minutes long and includes industrial psychologist Bernado Tirado from The Project Box talking about his top tip for finding a powerful position in the room. It also includes a short piece of the presentation…
Starting with the big image and going clockwise: The MOM Cultural Centre which hosted the conference Chapter Chair introducing the day The amazing round room View from the balcony over Budapest Traditional Hungarian snacks: apple and cherry strudels Endre, Project Manager of the Year, receiving his prize One of the tomobola winners collecting a copy…
I thought I had to be organised with one baby, now I have two it is completely different. There’s a lot to think about, from planning toddler meals and feeding the rest of the family to a near-military operation just to leave the house. Last night after putting Oliver down I opened a brand new…
I was due to bring you a book review of On Top of Everything today. Instead, I wanted to interrupt the Summer of Books schedule to say thank you to everyone who has sent their thoughts and good wishes to us in London after the riots last week. The book review will now appear on…